Every summer, we get asked many of the same questions by our patients. We thought we would turn the tables and see if you know the answers.
Take the quiz and figure out your summer health IQ:
1. True or false? If you get sick 30 minutes after you eat, you likely have a foodborne illness.
2. True or false? Everyone is at equal risk of getting skin cancer.
3. True or false? Silly Putty in the ears can prevent the infection known as swimmer's ear.
4. True or false? UVB and UVA protection are recommended in sunscreens.
5. True or false? West Nile virus, which is borne by mosquitoes, usually shows up like the flu.
Bonus question: If you want to avoid E. coli, what foods should you avoid if you travel to Hamburg, Germany?
1. False. More than 75 million cases of foodborne illness happen each year. Foodborne illnesses can take two to six hours -- and sometimes one to two days -- to appear. The last thing you ate before your nausea, vomiting and diarrhea started may not be the cause of your illness.
To avoid foodborne illnesses, use the four principles of proper food handling: Cook, clean, chill, separate. And don't forget to wash your hands after touching raw meat.
2. False. People of all skin colors should be mindful of their sun exposure, but certain people are at higher risk for skin cancers:
SBlt Those with fair skin or who burn easily, with light hair and blue or green eyes.
SBlt Those with a history of skin cancer or a first-degree relative with skin cancer.
SBlt Those with at least one severe sunburn in their life.
However, everyone should use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher while exposed to the sun. The rates of skin cancer are increasing dramatically in Americans -- at least 1 million cases a year.
We recommend wearing hats or shirts to get additional protection from the sun.
3. False. Wax ear plugs or custom-fit ear plugs are recommended to prevent swimmer's ear. Sorry, Silly Putty fans.
4. True. The CDC's website says: "Dermatologists recommend using a full-spectrum sunscreen that blocks or absorbs all UV rays." UVB rays cause sunburns, wrinkling and skin cancer. UVA rays cause tanning, but unfortunately, they also cause wrinkling and sun damage. Tanning beds produce both UVA and UVB rays. However, scientists are now finding that limited exposure to UV radiation may be of value in producing beneficial vitamin D in the skin.
5. False. West Nile virus can be transmitted by a mosquito; however, nearly 80 percent of those infected will not have symptoms. To avoid mosquito bites, get rid of mosquito breeding areas around the house, fix screen doors and windows, and wear insect repellent when outside. The CDC recommends using insect repellant with DEET. You can also use oil of lemon eucalyptus as a natural mosquito repellent.
Bonus answer: Sprouts are the latest food identified as the source of the E. coli infections in Europe.
Thanks for taking the summer health quiz!
If you got only one or two right, you have to share this column with a friend. If you got three right, you're a ray of sunshine. If you got four right, you're a cool drink of water. If you got all five right, you have the right stuff to survive a hot summer.
Now go pack your sunscreen, hat, custom ear plugs, eucalyptus oil, and a cooler, and have an invigorating summer.
P.S.: Perhaps you should still avoid leafy salads from northern Germany.
Judge and Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter Downtown Integrative Medicine program in Sacramento, Calif.